One Year Ago


There are those Sundays when you get started slowly, and feel a little antsy actually sitting and reading the paper so you decide to go on a really long run. You come home to a Sam in the kitchen meticulously chopping cabbage and green onion, boiling eggs and catching up with his mom on the phone. Suddenly, you’re no longer antsy. The sun is out and it feels like the best, slowest kind of Sunday.


That’s what happened this past weekend. We even had the back door open and the heat turned off. It was a big day here in Seattle. There are many things that Sam has made for me this year that I’d love to recreate on my own or even share with you, but most of them aren’t really written down. Sam’s theory on cooking, baking and recipes in general is that you need to have a feel for them more than anything. This is not my strength. He believes in having good base recipes that you just have a sense for and then adapt from there. You want to be able to make a great scone and pancake whether you’re in your own kitchen or out in a remote cabin during the summer. You want to be able to roast vegetables, make salad dressing, cook a simple fish, and make cornbread and jammy pastry. He does these without a hard-and-fast recipe. They’re basics in our house, and he’s been working hard to get me to be more comfortable shutting the cookbooks and learning to trust my own instincts in remembering  and recreating them.


This coleslaw? Sam wanted me to make sure to tell you that this is most definitely a dish where you stock up on the ingredients, but use your intuition to guide you regarding the amounts. This isn’t fine cooking or precise baking. He added a little more mustard this time around and we threw in all of our parsley so it wouldn’t go to waste. It’s not the same coleslaw that he might have made for himself a month ago, but it was delicious all the same. For this reason, the recipe listed below is really a rough guide, so set aside a bit of time and chop and taste and adjust as you like.

Sure, coleslaw is no Salted Caramel Cupcake. It’s no Deluxe Brownie or Shaker Lemon Pie, but it can turn a Sunday around just like that, and actually keeps in the fridge beautifully for a few weekday lunches. Unlike most coleslaw recipes I’ve tried, Sam’s version has bits of hard-boiled egg, a smattering of green onion, celery and poppy seeds, and a healthy swath of Italian parsley. He dresses it with both mustard and mayonnaise and a little salt and pepper, and tastes and adjusts often as he goes. Remember in my last post how I said that I often throw together meals and that many folks don’t necessarily define this as actual cooking? Well if I throw them together, Sam most certainly composes them. He chops vegetables much finer than I do, he takes more time and has more patience. For this reason, this is one most lovely coleslaw. I can’t wait for you to try it.

As we sat in the nook on Sunday afternoon finessing this coleslaw, it was hard not to think about what we’d been up to one year ago–the weekend I picked Sam up from Point Reyes Station and it all began. A year of plane trips and late night phone calls, visits and holidays. On Monday we celebrated our anniversary together with a very special dinner at Spinasse filled with buttery pasta, good wine, rabbit meatballs, and a goat cheese mousse with local rhubarb. Waking up yesterday with big to-do lists, we got right to work: me running errands for Marge, he working on a design project. As I sat flustered in traffic, I couldn’t stop thinking about the dinner we shared and how much I wished I were back at that candlelit table, slowly ambling away an unusually warm evening with Sam. But in between those meals, those long conversations, those glasses of wine, there has to be wonderfully basic food to sustain us. Quiet Sundays, boiled eggs and cabbage, The Book Review and calls to catch up with your mom. Sam: I hope this upcoming year is filled with many more bowls of coleslaw (and banana pancakes too, please). Together. On Sundays. As I know it will be.

 

Sam's Coleslaw

Sam's Coleslaw

  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Total time: 25 mins

Ingredients

1 head cabbage (green or purple)
2-3 green onion, chopped
1/2 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
1-2 tablespoons chopped chives (fresh or dried)
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, cooled and chopped
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise, plus more if you like
salt + pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons (or more) poppy seeds

Instructions

Chop the cabbage as fine as you have thepatience for.

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, green onion, parsley, celery and eggs. Toss to combine. Add the mustard and mayonnaise and stir together. Taste to see where it stands; add more mustard or mayonnaise if you wish. Season with salt and pepper. Finish with a generous dusting of poppy seeds and mix the whole thing together.

Store covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Comments

  1. Jess

    Happy One, you two. And yes, please, to eggs in my slaw.

  2. Joy

    Crazy, was it only a year ago? I honestly thought it's been much longer...because everything sounds wonderful, comfortable. :) Happy anniversary to you two, and here's to more good food shared, and memories.

    Speaking of slaw, I haven't been big on it until the beau came along. We've been consuming a lot of cabbage these days, too, and I'm bookmarking this for next week's cabbage preps.

  3. Sara Farley

    Awe Megan.... I love to follow your blog and this looks absolutely divine.. I can't wait to make it !

    1. megang

      Thanks, Sara. It means so much that you read it. Hope you're doing well and enjoying a bit of spring. xox

  4. ileana

    So sweet. Happy anniversary!
    Thanks for the recipe. Sounds good for when it starts getting really hot around here. I like that it's light on the mayo. I may try more mustard because I'm crazy about the stuff.

    1. megang

      Thanks, Ileana. Yes, the recipe is nice because you can make it as light (or not light) as you'd like. I've been craving it ever since posting it, and think we're going to have to go for a round 2 this weekend. Happy Friday, m

  5. Ashley

    Happy Anniversary you two. I'm so glad this year brought you here. Seattle is better for it.

  6. Ryan

    A mandolin will help cut down on the mind numbing chop work, as long as you watch your fingers!

    Very happy one year, I am glad that you two ended up in seattle!

    1. megang

      Good tip, Ryan. I used to make this Shaker Lemon pie every weekend for the farmers market and would work my mandolin like crazy...it's retired now :) But this is a good point. Sam uses one for his brussels sprout salad, but I think he likes chopping by hand sometimes. I'm glad we ended up here, too!

    1. megang

      Anne- Well, one year since we had our first visit after months of phone/love letters before. So I count it as longer than a year for sure, but you've got to choose a date, so we chose the weekend Sam visited for the first time. Hope you're doing well and I'll see you soon, yes? xox

  7. Reba

    Just as a good relationship should be --a solid base with some improvisation! Thank you so much for sharing your stories here.

  8. Mary

    Gorgeous, Megan. As he said: "Happy next eighty." XO to you + Sam

    1. megang

      Thanks, Mary. When going through the comments today on the blog, I explained you to Sam as a wonderful, wonderful supporter of Marge + Megan. You were one of the first. xoxx

  9. Dana

    So sweet Megan. Lovely, just lovely.

  10. brandi

    happy happy one to you both - i hope you have many more meals together, just as beautiful as this one.

    1. megang

      Thanks so much, Brandi!

  11. Bowen

    Beautiful! And this is the same way I like to make slaw ... by taste, by inspiration, by what I happen to have in the fridge. I love to make one similar to this with an Asian-style dressing and peanuts. Super addicting!

  12. sara

    so sweet. it is charming how much more detail boys take in chopping things isn't it? mine chop never looks quite meticulous. cheers to a great year ahead.

  13. julie

    Just made this !!!! It's wonderful, can't wait to share with the family tomorrow! Happy Easter Megan.

    1. megang

      Oh, great! Happy Easter to you, too, Julie! Enjoy the day with the family. xox

  14. Casey@Good. Food. Stories.

    Happy anniversary! I do love a good coleslaw AND a good hard-boiled egg, though I've never combined the two. That Sam is a smartypants.

    1. megang

      Combine, Casey!

  15. olga

    megan, happy anniversary!! how lovely and wonderful and so glad you guys are finally in one spot!

  16. Marissa

    Happy anniversary Megan and Sam. Eggs in slaw - what a great idea! Especially after 'the hunt' yesterday, I have a refrigerator full. Thank you!

    1. megang

      Ah yes! 'The hunt' always means there are a few leftover eggs. This is the perfect way to use those guys up. Thanks for your well wishes, m

  17. 365 Project – Week 15 | jingersnaps

    [...] of the ground and into my kitchen. I’m so ready. I have my cole slaw recipe all picked out. (Sam’s Coleslaw: a Rough Recipe from A Sweet Spoonful for you curious [...]

Join the Discussion

Winter Soups and Stews

Smoky Butternut Squash and Three Bean Chili

Smoky Butternut Squash and Three Bean Chili

If your house is anything like ours, last week wasn't our most inspired in terms of cooking. We're all suffering from the post-election blues -- the sole upside being Oliver's decision to sleep-in until 7 am for the first time in many, many months; I think he's trying to tell us that pulling the covers over our heads and hibernating for awhile is ok. It's half-convincing. For much of the week, instead of cooking, there'd been takeout pizza and canned soup before, at week's end, I decided it was time to pour a glass of wine and get back into the kitchen. I was craving something hearty and comforting that we could eat for a few days. Something that wouldn't remind me too much of Thanksgiving because, frankly, I can't quite gather the steam to start planning for that yet. It was time for a big bowl of chili.

Read More
5 Tips For Cooking with a Baby + Power Greens Soup

5 Tips For Cooking with a Baby + Power Greens Soup

Last weekend it was so windy – apocalyptically stormy, you could say – that our tent at the farmers market was uprooted by gusts of wind that were not messing around. I wasn't there, but apparently despite being heavily weighted down and with four customers holding onto each corner, it quite literally blew down the block. Sam, from across town, was reporting trees falling on every block and traffic lights out across the city. The next morning on a walk with Oliver around Green Lake, we were met with that same biting wind and ended up retreating for a hot chocolate instead. 'Tis the season in Seattle: we all get a little giddy and ahead of ourselves when we spot the cherry blossoms and daffodils, and I always trick myself into thinking that with the start of daylight savings time,  summer must be right around the corner. In truth, before we had Oliver, we'd often travel somewhere sunny for a little mood boost around this time of year. When I moved from California, many friends – other (empathetic) 'expats' now living in the Pacific Northwest – recommended this: if you know what's good for you, they'd all say, go find the sun in February or March, and we would follow that advice faaaaaithfully. But with a baby, this just isn't where our priorities are this year, and I've found myself relying on other antics like buying out of season strawberries, drinking white wine with dinner, buying a new pair of sandals that likely will not see the light of day for the next two months, and making big, colorful pots of feel good, springy soup. Let's not kid ourselves: Cherry blossoms or not, Seattle's no Palm Springs when it gets down to bathing in the sunlight. But if you step outside onto your little porch, smell the honeysuckle blooming, take notice of the longer, lighter days and think about how you simply can't wait to see your baby crawling around on the sand when it's warm enough to stroll down to the beach, it starts looking better in its own light. 

Read More
Minestrone Verde with White Beans and Pesto

Minestrone Verde with White Beans and Pesto

We returned home from San Francisco on New Years Eve just in time for dinner, and craving greens -- or anything other than baked goods and pizza (ohhhh San Francisco, how I love your bakeries. And citrus. And winter sunshine).  Instead of driving straight home, we stopped at our co-op where I ran in for some arugula, an avocado, a bottle of Prosecco, and for the checkout guys to not-so-subtly mock the outlook of our New Years Eve: rousing party, eh? They looked to be in their mid-twenties and I figured I probably looked ancient to them, sad even. But really, there wasn't much sad (or rousing, to be fair) about our evening: putting Oliver to bed, opening up holiday cards and hanging them in the kitchen, and toasting the New Year with arugula, half a quesadilla and sparkling wine. It wasn't lavish. But it's what we both needed. (Or at least what we had to work with.) Since then, I've been more inspired to cook lots of "real" food versus all of the treats and appetizers and snacks the holidays always bring on. I made Julia Turshen's curried red lentils for the millionth time, a wintry whole grain salad with tuna and fennel, roasted potatoes, and this simple green minestrone that I've taken for lunch this week. Determined to fit as many seasonal vegetables into a bowl as humanly possible, I spooned a colorful pesto on top, as much for the reminder of warmer days to come as for the accent in the soup (and for the enjoyment later of slathering the leftover pesto on crusty bread).

Read More
Simple Cooking: Pasta and Chickpea Soup

Simple Cooking: Pasta and Chickpea Soup

One of the things I wanted to accomplish before really returning to work in earnest was to print some of our honeymoon photos and get them into an album. This project has taken far longer than expected as I find myself daydreaming about the craggy streets of Naples and meeting up with our friends Mataio and Jessica for a late night slice of pizza which we ate sitting on the sidewalk before embarking on an aimless but wonderful stroll of the city. There are photos of our balcony by the sea, most with tanned limbs, sandy sandals and a Campari and soda gracing the periphery of the frame. There was the little grocery store up the hill from our apartment on the Amalfi Coast that had the sweetest, tiniest strawberries and the best yogurt in little glass jars. Tomatoes drying in the sun, Aperol spritzes and salty peanuts before dinner at the bar across from the church square where all the neighborhood kids played kickball. As I sit here typing this now, photos remain scattered on my desk and it's likely they may not make it into the proper slots in the album anytime soon. Of course, they have me dreaming of sunshine and long days with little agenda, but they also have me thinking about the simplicity of our meals in Italy and how truly easy it was to eat well. Coincidentally, a few days ago Rachel Roddy's lusty new cookbook (can we call it lusty?!), My Kitchen in Rome, arrived at our doorstep. Clearly it was time to set the photos aside and get into the kitchen. 

Read More
Returning Home

Returning Home

And suddenly, it's fall. I find that realization always comes not so much with the dates on the calendar as it does the leaves on the ground, the first crank of the heat in the morning, the dusky light on the way home from an evening run. Because we were gone on the train for nearly a week, I feel like fall happened here in Seattle during that very time. I left town eating tomatoes and corn and returned to find squashes and pumpkins in the market. It was that quick. And so, it only seemed fitting that I make this soup, one that has graced the fall table of each and every apartment (and now house) I've ever lived. In fact, I'm surprised that I hadn't yet made it for you here, and delighted to share it with you today. 

Read More